Monday, May 05, 2008

Mary Pitt: "The Goldwater Girl and Other Changelings"




Mary Pitt

In this life there is one immutable truth. It is that there will be change, whether or not we may approve or desire that change. At this time, there is no place where this is more true than in the battle for the presidency of the United States. The people whom we thought we knew now appear to us as something different than we ever expected from their past performances.

We hear of concerns about the possibility of a "split" in the Democratic party as the result of the no-holds-barred contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. If this is true, it is not necessarily the fault of the people involved but may be due to the failure of the American public to recognize how severely bifurcated the party has become as the result of the tension created between the desire to consider the welfare of the working class and the desire to win dominance in the halls of government.

As the Democrats continue to jockey for power and privilege they find the voters to be less than compliant with their carefully-laid plans. Most apparent of this syndrome is the campaign of Senator Clinton. Being distrustful of her party's ability to prevail over the opposition, she determined to attempt to appeal to their base in order to beef up her own support. This has been simple for her, inasmuch as her internship in the political field was in the camp of former Republican conservative, Barry Goldwater. Actually, she boasts of her days as a Goldwater Girl.

However, her political leanings were challenged by her relationship with a certain up-and-coming young man named Bill Clinton, who later served two terms as an acceptable Democratic governor and President. Once the White House days were over, she determined to pursue her own political career and availed herself of her husband's support within his party. But some of us wonder, as she makes her appeal to the Reagan Democrats if her indoctrination under the master conservative might still be directing her thinking as to policy as well as to talking points. One might also speculate as to whether her husband's firm friendship with the senior President Bush has any bearing on her political changes.

As Senator Obama trudged along in the path of a traditional Democrat in pursuit of the impossible dream, the improbable candidate found himself being damned by association with one of the heroes of the civil rights movement, one who is known to have associated with and to still be fond of those social warriors from that struggle. These connections are to really scarey people, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King, jr, Al Sharpton, Louis Farakhan, the Black Panthers, and the Weather Underground, et al. All of these people and the events in which they participated, by the way, are largely responsible for the fact that we not only got out of Vietnam but have reached the point where a man of color can actually have a chance of becoming our President.

However, even with the "radical preacher" tied about his neck like an albatross, Obama labors on, reaching out to the working class and the poor who are struggling greatly in this time of Bush-o-nomics. We will soon know whether he can reach enough of them with his understanding and care to get them to swallow the last of their inbred racism and support him in his contest or whether the old instincts will compel them to swing to the right and vote Republican-lite due to the racial animus aroused by the words of somebody else.

In any event, the winner of this contest will face another race against another "changeling" whose ambition has wreaked horrendous changes in him. A man who cherished his reputation as a maverick, who had steadfastly refused to march in lockstep with the Neo-Cons and the religious right has courted both factions and adopted the attitude of the Bush administration as well as the no-taxes-no-welfare program of the super-right and the continuation of the war in the Middle East into the future without foreseeable end. To listen to Senator John McCain parrot the words of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney is to wonder whther he has lost his mind or whether we have. Or perhaps this change is prompted by the fact that his previous positions have been co-opted by Senator Clinton in her effort to capture "the middle of the road".

In any event, to paraphrase Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "It's not God bless America, it's God SAVE America!"

(The author is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for "societal perfection".)

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